1st Cav. logisticians provide 'supplies for the skies' in Afghanistan
December 18, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan (Dec. 18, 2011) -- Soldiers who work at the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade's supply, support and activity warehouse work around the clock and play an important role in the brigade's overall mission.
The supply, support and activity, or SSA, platoon provides the 1st ACB's units with logistical support, handling in excess of 2,500 daily transactions that involve everything from office supplies to highly expensive aircraft parts.
"Our mission is to provide supplies for the skies," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lakisha Coles, the SSA accountable officer, assigned to Company A, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division.
"The role we play is crucial because aircraft can't remain in the fight if maintainers don't have the parts to fix them," added Coles.
Coles said the support her Soldiers provide must remain constant in order to meet customers' needs.
"We always have to be there for our customers, since you never know when an aircraft is going to become non-mission capable due to a part failure," said Coles. "We're open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to provide that level of support."
That level of support extends to all of the ground units that are located at Marmal, she added.
Staff Sgt. Alvin Roane, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the SSA, A Co., 615th ASB, used a football analogy to compare the role of the SSA warehouse platoon to that of an offensive line.
"The offensive line protects the quarterback so he can drive the ball down the field and score," he said.
Essentially, the SSA platoon protects the brigade's units by facilitating their parts needs and thereby helps them achieve mission success, added Roane.
The workflow at the warehouse is steady, as Soldiers routinely perform numerous tasks and take on a vast array of responsibilities.
"We're responsible for providing oversight and accountability for all of the items that are ordered and stored at the warehouse," said Sgt. Wayne Keller, an automated logistics specialist, also assigned to A Co., 615th ASB.
"The warehouse has a turn in section where customers turn in unserviceable items that we forward to the repair depots so that the parts can be re-integrated back into our supply system" added Keller.
The SSA platoon normally coordinates with A co.'s transportation platoon for assistance with movement of those unserviceable items, added Cole.
"The items are palletized and then we utilize forklifts to download the pallets on to Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks that they [the transportation platoon] use to transport the items," said Coles.
Keller gave some insight into the daily operations at the warehouse.
"We receive, break down and process incoming shipments here," added Keller.
"Once the items are processed, we distribute them to the respective units who ordered them," he said.
The Soldiers replenish their stock of parts and supplies daily, since a plethora of orders are constantly moving in and out of the supply system, said Keller.
Moreover, the spotlight rarely shines on the Soldiers who work at the SSA warehouse; a fact that doesn't bother Coles one bit.
"We get so caught up in our work out here," said Coles. "Everyone understands their job though, and they see the big picture; it isn't about us, it's about the units we support."
Roane said teamwork and cohesion ensure smooth operations at the warehouse, and he gave his Soldiers the credit for the platoon's daily successes.
"The Soldiers are well balanced and versatile as they constantly multi-task," said Roane. "They go above and beyond their normal duties, and I wouldn't trade them for anything."